5 Application Transformation Trends to Watch in 2015

As CIOs lead their organizations through ITaaS transformation, many are finding that accelerating new application delivery, modernizing the application portfolio, and “consumerizing” the user experience are all critical elements in ITaaS success. Overall, application transformation is playing a foundational role for enterprises seeking to take the journey to ITaaS.

I had the opportunity to explore these topics at EMC’s inaugural IT Transformation Week event in November at our Executive Briefing Center in Santa Clara, California. The three-day program provided IT executives expert guidance on steps for a software-accelerated approach to IT Transformation, in-depth ITaaS and cloud case studies, and a variety of breakout and executive roundtable discussions.

Several common themes emerged from our conversations with customers across a variety of industries including financial services, technology, healthcare, and others, including:

  • Everyone is now in the software business. There was a near unanimous recognition that in the words of Marc Andreessen, software is eating the world. Mobile apps are increasingly becoming the primary face to the consumer for many enterprises. As a result of digital transformation many industries are increasingly being run on software and online services. Big Data platforms like Hadoop can provide customer and market insight to drive continuous improvement in software, online services, and overall business strategy. As a result, CIOs are finding it critical to adopt the agile development approaches, skills, tools, and platforms that enable them to respond with startup-like agility to changes in their business environment.
  • Transformation is requiring organizations to rethink their application portfolios. As customers seek to drive infrastructure transformation leveraging public and hybrid cloud models, the first questions are often related to applications. Which applications should be replatformed to hybrid or pubic cloud models? Which applications should be replaced by SaaS? Which strategic applications should be rewritten to take advantage of microservice architectures and PaaS? I found that, in order to answer these questions, many organizations are driving comprehensive portfolio analysis initiatives in conjunction with their broader infrastructure and ITaaS transformation programs.
  • Application teams are going bimodal. There was also much discussion around how to transform the applications and IT organizations. Conversations focused on how to break down the barriers between development and IT operations to create new DevOps capabilities, and to whether bimodal IT models are most appropriate approach to driving transformation. Most organizations I spoke with are piloting or incubating new DevOps units, seeking to incrementally extend and scale the units over time. Just as application transformation has strong interdependencies with infrastructure transformation, it also has interdependencies with organizational and operational transformation.
  • Application migration factories are emerging. Organizations with large application portfolios are seeking to develop repeatable, scalable migration models they can use to rapidly rewrite or replatform applications to cloud models. Many are pursuing the concept of a modernization factory model that uses standardized processes, tools, and approaches. In many cases these factories also serve as a seeding ground to build new agile, DevOps, and continuous release models.      
  • CFOs need a new IT value framework. Building the business case for investments in DevOps automation, PaaS, and other platforms required to drive new agile development models was a challenge for several of the executives I met. After a decade of driving cost efficiencies through outsourcing and purchase scale, CFOs and finance organizations are often locked in a cost-centric TCO mindset that doesn’t fully account for the value of increased business and IT agility. IT is finding is has to work with the business to effectively communicate the value and importance of agility.

As online services and software increasingly drive business strategy, application transformation is rapidly becoming an imperative. As we heard from customers last week, driving this transformation requires a coordinated approach that is integrated with broader business, organizational, and infrastructure transformation. Find out more about how to Get Your IT Transformation in Gear from EMC Vice President, Barbara Robidoux.

About the Author: Scott Bils

Scott is a Senior Director in the Dell Technologies Consulting Services organization. In his role leading the Americas Digital Transformation Practice he is responsible for services in the areas of Cloud Native Applications, DevOps / Infrastructure as Code, Big Data Analytics and IOT. Scott blogs and speaks frequently on the topics of application, cloud and digital transformation. Prior to Dell Technologies Scott co-founded a leading boutique consultancy focused on helping large enterprises and service providers navigate the issues associated with cloud and ITaaS transformation. Scott was also the Founding CEO at Conformity, a venture-backed provider of the first enterprise-class management and governance platform for cloud applications. Prior to Conformity Scott held senior executive roles at Scalable Software and Troux Technologies, and also worked at McKinsey and Co. and Accenture. Scott holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.